I feel rather helpless about it now, and I'm chickening out by posting instead of commenting, but... I recently got a somewhat defensive reaction when I tried to talk about it, so... I'm doing it this way.
Rape is not 'joke' material. It's not even 'writing effect' material. Rape is the worst thing one human can do to another. It's not okay, in my opinion, to refer to 'rape' in any manner other than with great awareness of the horror and the tragedy that it encompasses. I think to do so is to trivialize the suffering of victims and to encourage the acceptance of the act, no matter how subtly.
To quote something I said recently...
"This is awkward to word because I don't want to sound like I'm trying to control what you write, not at all, and I don't want to offend. I have a problem with the word 'rape' being used lightly. I've been raped, and it is devastating -- it crumbles your whole world. For me, even the word hits me like a slap in the face (and I know it does for many other survivors too). Sooooo, I'm going out on a limb here and explaining this because I like you and I want to explain how I feel... and how possibly other girls feel and don't express. 1 in every 3 girls (the most recent study shows 38%) has been sexually abused in some way -- they just don't talk about it because there's a lot of shame attached.
I know you didn't mean it negatively, and I know that word doesn't hold the same impact for everyone that it does for me. It's just somewhat triggering to read, so I was hoping that (selfish as it may be of me to hope) you might avoid using the word casually in your journal in the future."
And I want to thank the few of you that have been so thoughtful and compassionate when I expressed these feelings to you, and have taken them to heart. Really, it meant a lot to me. It still means a lot.
since I wrote this a few years ago, my susceptibility to being triggered has changed. I no longer feel the same horrible flashbacks -- but I do still find the casual, 'ironic' use of the word upsetting and offensive. Rape is the worst thing that a person can experience, and minor upsets like buying something that is overpriced or losing a game are absolutely nothing like it. If someone was describing an actual violation, an actual stripping of one's basic rights, then it would be an apt descriptive term, and while it would still bother me, I would see nothing wrong with it.
I feel that casual use of the word rape (or molest, used in a sexual connotation such as 'so-n-so is molestable') makes it more acceptable to joke about the actual act, which in turn makes the actual act seem less horrific and annihilating, more acceptable. I understand that not all people would agree with that, but it is something I feel very strongly about. I believe words have power, and how we use them affects the world around us. I believe our culture is growing more and more tacitly approving of sexual violation, and it bothers me extremely whenever I see it.
This is a set boundary for me, so I will not keep someone on my friends list after knowing that ze may use sexually violent language in a casual manner. To people I don't care about, I simply unfriend with no explanation when I see this, because it's never a nice conversation. If I pointed you to this post in response to you doing so, it means I care about you and want to give you the opportunity to reconsider your use of the word. I want to allow you to choose between losing the use of word in that way or losing me.